One of the key success factors for better golf psychology is learning to unconsciously play one shot at a time - in the moment, zone or now. This applies equally to every shot you play whether it's on the practice ground, in a friendly game or in the most important round of your golf career. Playing in the now means that you're protected from any poor, indifferent shots and ill-judged shots that went before. It also means that you're protected from future uncertainties and expectations.

Now why am I talking about this today? Well, isn't the world's golf press just amazing, if a little predictable? They watch Benn Barham score a fourth round 69 for a phenomenal total of 19 under par and then say that he failed. They focus their attention on his few bad shots, like his drive down the last hole, "that cost him a birdie." If he'd played and scored as well as he did and the won, they'd be talking about his amazing success and probably be knocking Rafael Cabrera Bello's disastrous failure.

Now I'm not taking anything away from Rafael. He played remarkably well, scoring an 11-under par round of 60 to beat Benn into second place in the Austrian Open by a single shot. I read somewhere that it's one of only 13 rounds of 60 in the history of the European Tour. Darren Clarke had two of those 60's, so Rafael's one of only 12 phenomenal golfers to achieve that level.

What's more interesting, especially to me as a golf psychologist and watching every shot of their final rounds, is that they both played to the best of their ability on the day. It was just that Rafael scored better even than Benn's 63 in the opening round on Thursday. What's also interesting is that they both seemed to be playing their mental golf one shot at a time.

You could see that focus in the way that Benn calmly holed a series of difficult recovery putts to keep things going in the first 9 holes on Sunday. However, he didn't seem to be "trying" to keep things going and just seemed to be playing each shot on its merits, while disregarding the shots that had gone before, good or bad. He also didn't look like a man who was getting ahead of himself. He just seemed to be focussing on playing his shots and letting the score just happen. Even the final result didn't really faze him, judging by his comment afterwards, when he said "I'm very happy with the way I have played but disappointed to finish second."

Rafael certainly looked to me like he was doing the same thing and he confirmed it afterwards when he's quoted as saying.

"It's just amazing - I played the best golf of my life and I can't believe it, I was so far back at the start of the final round that I wasn't thinking about winning. I just tried to play a shot at a time and it worked out really good."

So how do I play each shot "in the now", I hear you asking? Well, I'll be talking a lot more about that in future articles, but here's a simple suggestion that will bring most people abruptly into the now. Just imagine that the shot you are about to play is the last golf shot you will ever play. There's no point in thinking about the next shot, as there isn't going to be one. Just make the best you can of this one last shot. Make it a shot to remember. You wouldn't want to mess up your last ever shot by trying too hard, now would you.

Author's Bio: 

Andrew Fogg, the Golf Hypnotist, is an enthusiastic golfer, hypnotherapist and NLP Master Practitioner. He is a practicing golf psychologist and author of a soon to be published book "The Secrets of Hypnotic Golf" and a series of golf hypnosis MP3 programmes.

Visit his website for information on how to get the most success, pleasure and enjoyment from the wonderful game of golf. More specifically, it's about how to improve your golf by working on the 90 percent of the game that's played in the 6 inches between your ears.`

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